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St Emilion’s La Gaffeliere ‘plans for future’ with triple estate purchase

Chateau la Gaffeliere, the Saint Emilion 1er Cru Classe estate, has acquired 13 hectares of vines split across three estates by purchasing Vignobles Cassat in a deal that forms part of a long-term succession plan.

Chateau La Gaffeliere vines

Olivier Cassat
said that he sold his family business because his children didn’t want to take over and ‘the job has become much more difficult, requiring continual investment’.

A fee was not disclosed for the deal. But, La Gaffeliere owner Alexandre de Malet-Roquefort told Decanter.com that he wanted to praise Cassat for ‘accepting our offer over higher possibilities on the table because he wanted to keep the properties in the hands of a long-time Saint Emilion family’.

Vignobles Cassat comprises three estates, including Chateau Mauvezin, which was classified until 1996, Domaine de Peyrelongue and Chateau Haut Badon, producing a total of 70,000 bottles.

Malet-Roquefort said he was intending, for the foreseeable future at least, to keep the wines as separate estates. He plans to invest in the vineyards to increase the quality of what is widely regarded as under-valued terroir, citing three or four hectares that sit in especially valuable locations.

He also plans to pull out three hectares immediately and replant at a later date, as well as upgrade the estates’ cellars.

‘We have already worked on the 2014 harvest, but seeing real changes in wine quality involves a 10 to 15 year programme of work,’ says Malet-Roquefort.

‘There is real potential here, but for us it is above all an investment in the land. I am planning for the future as my father did for me, and La Gaffeliere could not on its own pay the succession taxes for my three children’.

He said that it is currently difficult to envisage Cassat vines being included in his classified estate, even though some plots are surrounded by the La Gaffeliere vineyard.

‘With the classification up in the air as it is now,’ he said, ‘there is a feeling that no integration of newly-acquired plots can even be attempted or planned for, no matter how impressive their quality. If we were in the Medoc it wouldn’t even be a question.’

The deal was organised through Thierry Rustmann, of Compagnie Bordelaise Viticole and Agricole.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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